Growing up, I have always felt connected to the Back Hills of South Dakota. I was born in the hills and I would love nothing more then to spend my days there watching the wildlife roam and hiking through the hills. There is something about the feeling of the wind in your hair, the rocks around you, the smell of fresh pine and the sound of creeks flowing ever so gently at your feet. I have been craving freedom for a few years now, but it hasn't been as strong of an urge until recently.
In the last two years, I have become someone that I don't even recognize and I can't explain who she is. Lost and hurting, I became lost in myself and never could seem to find a way out. Between a bad breakup, not placing as much as I had hoped at Miss North Dakota, and so many other things; I'm at a loss. I never wanted to be the girl who could look in a mirror and honestly say "I don't know her." Late nights scrolling through Tumblr, searching for the words on a screen to help me come to terms with who I've become. I still sit in the dark and read ever quote from "Excerpts from the book I'll never write" hoping one day I'll find the one quote to help me realize who I am isn't who I will always be.
Quotes can only do so much, but that's where the hills come in. If I have learned anything form my dad, it's this:
- Put your faith fully in God.
- Trust in what the creator has in store for you.
- Listen to the wise words of the Lakota Sioux.
& Trust in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
When my father first joined the military, his first duty station was at Ellsworth AFB in Rapid City, South Dakota; the heart of the Black Hills. Throughout my life, I heard stories of his time spent in the hills; the hundred of hikes, the trips to Hill City and Deadwood, and the motorcycle rallies spent in Sturgis. Only one story ever mattered to me, and that was the one where he met my mother and found who he was. I've always known the tales of countless trips, wandering through the wild, wondering why he hasn't found himself nor the right person for him. Waiting seemed like it was going to be his entire life until he realized something. Now this, this is the meaning of my entire being:
"As soon as you think it's the end, it's only the beginning. It wasn't until I was ready to go it alone in the world did I stumble across your mother. She quickly became my entire reason for living, and has been ever since. I found who I was and who I wanted to be in a place so peaceful and simple but also complex and terrifying all at once. I will forever owe my life to the hills and the people who let them be wild. If you can be anything; be wild, let the world know you're listening , be the wild that someone needs to discover within themselves. But never love a wild thing."
I have never been more drawn to the hills than I have been in the last week. I never fully understood my pull to the wild until I lost myself. I am on a journey of finding who I want to be and if I find the person who wants to join me on this quest, then I must be lucky. If I have to go at this life thing alone just a bit longer, I'll be sad but I know the creator has something magical waiting for me. I have a lot of discovering to do before I reach my final destination, but I know that in the end; I'll eventually find the girl I long to be. Maybe she's Miss North Dakota 2019, maybe she's just an average teacher in Grand Forks, but maybe she's everything I've ever dreamed of.
So if you need a break form yourself, the world, and your phone; go discover a trail, a mountain, or a creek. Lose yourself in the wind and aroma of fresh pine. Find out who you were destined to be, not the pained girl you've become. You can find your calling anywhere. Maybe it's a weekend at the lake, or a trip to Disney. Mine just happens to be somewhere lost on a hiking trail in the middle of the Black Hills with no cell reception. Pick your passions, know your struggles, and become who you've dreamed of. Follow your call to the wild.